2018 Review Of The Best
Practice Management Software
What’s the difference between a medical billing software and a practice management system? Medical billing and claim management software are often stand-alone independent programs. However, practice management systems contain many connected applications or modules that work together to meet the end-to-end needs of a practice. This 2018 software review of the best practice management solutions has been narrowed down to the top eight vendors / systems appropriate for small to mid-size medical offices and that are repeatedly the top choices of the most savvy practice managers.
Shopping for a medical practice management solution can be a little overwhelming. You have lots of systems to choose from, so how do you decide which one will answer your total practice needs best? What is the difference between All-in-one platforms vs. Stand-alone programs. Or the difference between cloud based vs local server solutions. How do I know which type is best suited to my specific office situation and budget?
That’s where we come in. We’ve reviewed the top options for you to consider, weighed the pros and cons, and outlined the key considerations that will drive your selection to create a short list of the best candidates.
Following are the top nine (9) most important elements to consider in selecting the best practice management software for your practice.
#1 Review The Top Practice Management Solution
When it comes to shopping for an all-in-one office solution, you usually have to choose between affordability and features. Either you spend more to get the functionality you desire, or you take the inexpensive route and forego important features.
That’s not the case with PracticeSuite. Not only is it one of the most affordable practice management systems in our 2018 review, but it’s also one of the most feature-rich choices. It boasts a 99.2 percent client retention rate, and more than 41,000 medical professionals rate it number one. Plus, it’s completely cloud-based, so you can access it from any device with an internet connection. From appointment scheduling to charting and electronic claim filing, this software vendor delivers on medical practice management.
Review Pricing Options and Calculate Your Practice Management Software Costs
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Decision Points : Formulate a Needs Assessment
#2 Define Your Key Criteria
- Organizational efficiency: Front office. Clinical. Claim Management. Collections.
- Comprehensiveness of features: Scheduling. EHR. Medical billing. Financial reporting.
- Revenue cycle managementcapabilities.
- Medical specialtiessupported.
- Business size: Is the system flexible to accommodate small to mid-size practices.
- Affordability: Cloud-based vs Desktop. Locally networked systems. VPN’s.
- Support: However good a system is, success rises and falls on support.
Complementary Practice Analysis
- Benchmark Your Reimbursement Rates and Claim Efficiency Against Peers
- Review the Revenue Impact of No Show and Cancelled Appointments
- Identify Lost Revenue due to Patient Balances (especially > 90 days)
- Recoup Lost Revenue due to Unpaid Claims (especially > 120/180 days)
- Review Ways to Increase Patient Satisfaction and Referrals
- Strategies for Increasing Revenue for Routine Appointments
and Pro-Active Patient Outreach
Types of Practice Management Solutions
#3 Understand Technical Advantages and Disadvantages
Today’s advanced technology platforms give medical practices two good choices for practice management software.
All-In-One Software: Historically, big and expensive enterprise computer systems were needed for a practice to get all the features and capabilities to run their full practice. Today’s cloud-based and lower priced technology give greater access to all-in-one solutions for scheduling, medical billing, electronic health records, and collections management.
“App-for-That” Platforms: Modern software options give practices the opportunity to connect the best, specialty specific software applications together in an ecosystem of technology. The beauty of these options is that practices can combine pieces of technology that best suit the specialized workflows and provider preferences. Pick the medical billing option that works great for billing needs. Pick the EHR option that works best for the clinical needs.
Who Makes These Platforms?
#4 Review Your Options and Compare What Others Are Saying About Them
Medical practices across the country rely on PracitceSuite to deliver software options in both of the categories; however, there are some other companies that we respect and in some cases partner with to ensure medical practices and facilities have easy access to the right tools they need to create their own, highly specialized practice management platform.
See How Eligibility Can Increase Cash Collections
What Is Practice Management?
#5 Understand the Scope of Practice Management
Practice Management is the art and science of managing an advanced-degree, doctoral-level professional practice in law, medical, financial consulting, or accounting. These professions are governed by state review boards that regulate, license, monitor, and maintain the credentials required to offer professional services to the public. Credential designations include JD, MD, DO, and CPA.
Medical Practice Management (MPM) refers not merely to the management of finances, which is central to any business, but also to the adherence to regulatory compliance, administration of staff, allocation of resources, in addition to managing cash flow.
In a professional office such as a medical practice, the general manager responsible for running the business side of things is referred to as the practice manager and is typically the highest credentialed person besides the doctorate-level practitioner.
Who Credentials Practice Managers?
These high-level administrators typically have years of experience in lower-level positions, and over time rise to greater levels of operational responsibility. They often obtain credentials through the MGMA, HBMA, HFMA, PAHCOM, and many other industry specific associations of professional business administrators.
What Do Practice Managers Do?
#6 Understanding The Critical Role Practice Managers Play in a Medical Facility
Medical Practice Managers are responsible for making sure that every aspect of the practice runs smoothly; that it stays in compliance with the laws that govern the specialty; that staff are trained and attended to, and that A/R is kept low and positive cash flow is maintained. The clinical, legal, or financial onus of the business rests on the credentialed doctorate, while the operational details of the business are the responsibility of the general manager — or practice manager.
What Is Practice Management Software?
PMS is the often highly complex electronic system of software programs that general managers of a professional practice rely upon to organize the numerous activities and intricacies involved in running an advanced-degree enterprise. The largest of these systems are highly evolved software platforms that contain hundreds of modules that connect all the tasks and departments throughout a medical office, medical center, or hospital.
A flowchart of a mid-sized group practice, with let’s say, 20 doctors, would look like this:
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Evaluation and Selection of a PM Software System
#7 Determine Which System is Right for You
When it comes to choosing a practice management system, there are no easy answers. Every aspect of the practice must be understood intimately and addressed, and every detail understood and accounted for.
There are thousands of stand-alone software modules that are niche players serving various aspects of PM, but the purpose of this review is to evaluate whole-practice, end-to-end, all-in-one office systems that address every granular aspect of practice workflow and process. Although each professional practice is different and easy answers are not possible, here’s what to consider.
i. Setting – Practice Size
The size of the practice or professional group is the number one consideration. A small solo doctor is not going to have the same software needs that a five- or ten-doctor multi-specialty practice. A small medical center is not going to have the same practice management needs as a University Medical Center. Mt. Sinai hospital is not going to have the same practice management needs as Kaiser Permanente. Size is the number one consideration. Next is specialty.
ii. Medical Special, Sub-Specialty
Because the specific needs of each professional practice very so drastically, it is essential that the enterprise system you’re looking for is adapted specifically to your specialty. The software that a podiatrist or a chiropractor uses to practice their specialty may not be sufficient for a multi-doctor, multi-specialty, multi-location women’s health clinic. All practices need specialty-specific practice management software.
iii. Flexible Workflows
Given that the system you’re looking into is used by other practices your size and in your specialty, the next consideration is workflow. Good software organizes a practice and makes it more efficient. After the consideration of process and workflow is best practices.
iiii. Best Practices
The term best practice comes from what the smartest practices do to reach the gold standard of enterprise-wide efficiency. After best practices is comprehensiveness of system features.
iiii. System, Platform Features
This particular review of PMS systems focuses on end-to-end, whole-practice, all-in-one practice systems that contain front office scheduling, eligibility verification, clinical EMR, insurance billing, Revenue Cycle Management (RCM), statements/invoicing, and collections modules.
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11 Must Have PMS Features
#8 Creating Your Required Feature Short List
In this day and age, a modern Practice Management System needs to provide features that mirror the modern medical practice. Without these state of the art applications, today’s fast-paced medical practices cannot operate at top efficiency.
1. An Online Patient Portal that allows new patients to request an appointment, enter patient and insurance info, chief complaint, medical history, family history, and Rx histories––online, pre-appointment, at their convenience.
2. Robust and Flexible Patient Appointment Scheduling that allows multiple bookings per timeslot, flexible timeslots, and facilitates complex scheduling scenarios for multi-provider, multi-specialty, muti-location, and allows first-available resource scheduling
3. Automated Eligibility Verification and patient Appointment Reminders
4. Superbill creation and reconciliation. Case Management. Electronic claim transmittal and management
5. Simple & Intuitive Clinical Charting. Electronic health records allow the practitioner to complete an entire patient encounter on a single screen without having to open extra windows or requiring hundreds of clicks
6. Smart Document Management that ensures the right document goes into the right patient chart
7. Inter-Office Communications and Task Assignment
8. Electronic Claims Management & cutting edge Revenue Cycle Management capabilities
9. Patient Marketing CRM and Online Review Management dashboards
10. Comprehensive Reporting: For front office, clinical, billing and revenue cycle, financial reporting, and employee productivity reporting
11. Awesome Support. No matter how good a system is, practice management success rises and falls on the quality of support. Look for a system that consistently achieves higher than 90% customer satisfaction
Our PMS Feature Checklist!
#9 Compare Premium Features and Capabilities During Evaluation
Here is our expanded checklist of features needed in any premium whole-office PMS system: Without these, we feel that a system cannot be considered an whole practice solution.
– Appointment scheduling with flexible time slots and appointment reminders
– Enter patient demographics. Ability to check benefits manually and batch
– Patient balances and insurance balances displayed in calendar and patient ledger
– Ability to accept patient-pay, print receipts, labels, and superbills
– Ability to assign tasks should something be left undone
Cloud-Based EMR Software:
– Patient face-sheet with easy access to family history, medical history, visit history, allergies, immunizations, prior clinical notes, labs, prescriptions, and diagnostics
– A natural uncomplicated way to diagnose and chart the patient encounter in a way that doesn’t require a lot of moving around, clicks, or a proliferation of windows.
– Easy way to order scripts, labs, and diagnostics
– Easy document management and retrieval with integrated fax
– All required clinical reporting such as CDC, Mu, PQRS, Rural Health, etc.
Medical Billing Office:
– Savvy revenue cycle management tools
– Quick charge entry/capture with easy access to the clinical notes
– Easy billable code selection with automatic claim scrubbing and case management
– Insurance claim filing, print or electronic, primary, secondary, and tertiary
– Organized way to manage rejections, denials, payment & adjustments, and write-downs
– Organized way to manage aging claims, A/R, and patient balances
– Pre-collections, patient statements, and collections
– Overall proficiency of managing the revenue cycle
– System adheres to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP)
– At-a-glance dashboard of the practice’s financial health
– Key performance indicators (KPI) displayed in real-time
– Fraud prevention
– Every essential report required by each department to operate efficiently is available
HIPAA Compliance Application:
– Logical way to manage HIPAA, HITECH, OMNIBUS, PCI compliance
Customer Satisfaction Modules:
– Online Review Management –a must have for today’s doctors
– CRM to set up automated emails, create newsletters, and organize community events –a must have for today’s practices
Now that you’re more familiar with all the options, you can choose the best practice management system for your health care business.
To see why we’re the number-one choice, sign up for the free trial of our medical billing software.